Kerala govt issues advisory regarding trekking

In view of the tragic death of several trekkers during the forest fire in the Kolukkumalai hills of Theni district in Tamil Nadu, the Chief Secretary and the Chairman of State Disaster Management Authority has issued directions to stop trekking to hills and also to ensure that all fire lines are cleared. In view of the situation, the state has issued 6-point instructions with immediate effect.

  • No movement of members of public inside forest areas, without permission will be allowed.
  • All programmes in which members of public are taken inside forest areas, like trekking, will be suspended forthwith.
  • DFOs/WLWs will critically review the fire sensitivity of the areas where visitors are to be taken, assess the safety of visitors and only after convincing that the visit is safe, the areas will be reopened. Such re-opening will be based on written report of the DFOs/WLWs and with the approval of the respective Chief Conservator of Forests.
  • If any such site is re-opened for visit for the public, a 15 minute briefing will be given to the visitors before the visit begins. The briefing will include fire sensitivity of the are, need for not causing fire, precautions to be taken for personal safety, what to do in the case of accidental fire, etc.
  • Visitors will not be allowed to take match boxes, lighters or any inflammable materials into the forests. This should be checked and ensured before they enter into the forests.
  • The staff/watchers accompanying the visitors will also take sufficient precautions for personal safety including wearing of cotton clothes, carrying sufficient quantity of water, wireless/mobile communications etc.

The state government has earlier declared that the wildlife sanctuaries and the forest ares would be remain closed until a new declaration comes into effect. The government has temporarily banned all trekking activities in the state following the fire in the Korangani hills of Kolukkumalai in Theni district. Eleven trekkers are believed to be dead and 21 are suffering injuries.